The county council has recently approved a £615k funding package to expand the specialist highways laboratory located in Cramlington. This laboratory aims to provide an independent material-testing service for all highway and bridge construction and maintenance in Northumberland to ensure that the materials being used meet the correct standards and are of high quality. The facility is also the only local authority UKAS accredited highways materials laboratory in the North East of England and carries out paid work for other construction industries in the region, as well as for neighbouring local authorities.
The funding will be used to remodel the existing building to provide better and improved workspace, and to install specialist equipment and fittings. The expansion of the laboratory will enable more staff to be accommodated in the building, thereby increasing work efficiency and capacity. The project’s benefits will pay for itself in increased business, resulting in an effective use of money for both the council and the taxpayer.
Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet member for Improving our Roads and Highways, commented on the expansion project, saying that “the laboratory offers testing facilities for analysis of materials used in highway construction, civil engineering and general construction and we carry out paid work for other businesses. One of the key aims of the laboratory is to test materials to ensure they are durable and appropriate for the job in question and thereby greatly reducing the risk of expensive future maintenance costs.”
With a large amount of external work being turned down due to capacity constraints, there is significant scope for expansion of the current service. This expansion project will enable the laboratory to accommodate more work and cement its position as a leading provider of material-testing services.